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Xavier needs another Cintas surge Saturday against Villanova

As much as we loved JP's heat check, it's last year's lockdown that provides the blueprint for the weekend.

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NCAA Basketball: Villanova at Xavier
Paul Scruggs and a lot of defense keyed the run to victory against Villanova last year.
Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

What is your favorite Xavier v. Villanova memory, and why is it beating them as #1 at Cintas in 2016? After a touch-and-go opening segment, JP Macura came off the bench to put a match to the contest. By the time Gus Johnson's rapturous "Macura. Heat check! BANG!" was done echoing through TV speakers across the upper Midwest, Cintas was rocking and the Wildcats were on their heels.

As much fun as that was, it's not the blueprint for a win this year. That team had Tre, JP, Myles, and Remy all shooting over 35% from deep on a significant number of attempts, and it was stocked to the gills with offensive options.

This year's team looks a lot like the team that beat Nova at Cintas last year though. Like this team, that one had found it's groove on defense and was riding that unit on a late run that had the potential to define the season. They were crushing the glass and both ends and making clutch plays to rise as February rolled on.

It wasn't any of that that won the game for Xavier, though; it was a 17-0 run at Cintas when the chips were down in the second half. Xavier held Nova to 0-11/0-6/0-0 shooting and 1 offensive board while forcing 2 turnovers in a decisive stretch of 9:04 while the Muskies put the game away. Naji had 7 in that stretch, Paul had 5, and Q and Eli Harden each kicked in a bucket while the decibel level in Cintas approached that of the deck of an aircraft carrier.

It's going to be rocking again Saturday as it's all to play for down the stretch in February. If you want to be among those barking for a third stop, snag some tickets here from the nice people at StubHub, who help sponsor our website.